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Ab Hoving

A Dutch 17th century pleasure vessel by Ab Hoving - Card

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Over the weekend I have been to London and as our hotel was around the corner, my wife suggested that we visit once more the Wallace-Collection. Sir Richard Wallace and his father have put together also a nice collection of Dutch paintings, including a good number of seascapes. For a colleague over in the forum of the 'Arbeitskreis' I took pictures of several hoeker-like vessels (https://forum.arbeitskreis-historischer-schiffbau.de/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1874) and also what I think may be an early form of a 'boeier'. In any case, judging by the carved and gilded decorations, it is obviously a pleasure-craft:



J. van der Heyden (1637-1712): View of the Westerkerk, Amsterdam.


Perhaps Ab can correctly identify this vessel ?

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Hello Eberhart,


Thank you for enlightening this peculiar thread of which the content seems to wonder into various directions with a nice view on Amsterdam in the 17th century.:-)

This is surely a pleasure vessel. We know it under the name of 'kopjacht', a name I cannot explain. It is more often depicted on paintings of special occasions on the water, like this one, dealing with the visit of the Czar Peter the Great to Amsterdam in 1697-98.

Another attractive type for model building...


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I left this thread alone for a long time. Not because I lost interest, but there were so many more things on my table (an on my mind actually).

First I should get back to the discussion about the materials used for sails. I always used a very fine linen cloth to bellow it with starch and a hair dryer, but the bottom of my stock becomes visible and wefalck suggested I might give paper a try. In itself that seemed logical, as I am using paper for the hulls as well, but I never found my way in 'building' sails. A former colleague at the museum directed me to a gentleman in Haarlem (also a restorer) who had stocks of all sorts of paper. Indeed he was kind enough to supply me with some various sizes of wonderful hand made Japanese paper. I tried to make sails with it, but never succeeded in producing a real natural shape with it. Another former colleague sent me new textile material. Not exactly what I used before, but very well suitable for my purposes. So I made new sails for the yacht with it. 



Originally the question of the material used arose because my sails always look too clean and tidy. I thought it was impossible to apply paint after I used starch to get a natural shaped sail. For reasons of practicing Seahorse's method of double planking paper hulls without the use of filler I needed draughts of a simple vessel. I chose a tartan from Chapman's wonderful collection of draughts Architectura Navalis Mercatoria because of its simple shape and I successfully applied Seahorse's method in the construction of the hull (thank you Tomek). Rigging a lateen sail ship is very quick compared with square rigged ships, so I thought I give painting its sails a try. If things went wrong it would not take much time and effort to replace them.







Anyway, painting starched sails with Acrylic paint appeared to be possible indeed, although I need a lot of practice before the result will be really satisfying. I like this small vessel with its exiting lines very much and wonder why I always get back to Dutch vessels. Probably because foreign ones ask so many more questions I cannot answer than Dutch ones...

A week later my son and I received a request to do a book sleeve for a book about a fluit ship that was taken by a North African corsair. Pure coincidence. Once the real pictures are taken and Emiel has done his graphic job I will show the results.


In the mean time my miracle-Belgium friend Rene Hendrickx finished the 3D model of the pleasure vessel and since this little boat is still the subject of this thread (believe it or not) I can offer the draught to anyone who wants to build this lovely ship type and we even have the shape of the planks right now. If you have the free downloadable shipbuilding program DELFTShip on your 64-bits computer, I can even send you the file, so you can view this model in 3D inside and out. Just send me a PM in case you are interested.







Back to the working table, where a Dutch 1600 galley waits for my attention. Another project I got lured into by my former boss at the museum, Peter Sigmond, who is about to publish a book about that stormy period in Dutch history. But that model is again part of a totally different story, maybe another time...

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Ab, I gather you read German ? I think you have been in touch with the German colleague who sails as 'Schmidt' in various fora ? He has experimented quite successfully with a lamination method for sails: https://www.segelschiffsmodellbau.com/t7592f815-Laminatsegel-fuer-Modelle-im-kleinen-Massstab.html. Essentially, Japan silk is laminated between two layers of Filmoplast R. Filmoplast R is an extremely thin paper with a thermo-setting glue on one side. It is being used by book-restorers to stabilise nearly invisibly torn pages. This laminate can be wetted and pulled into shape, but does not tear, as plain paper might do. It probably can also be tinted with washes of acrylic paint.


I have not tried this method yet myself, however, as I have not been able to obtain Filmoplast R here in Paris. The art-shop that normally stocks it, had run out of supplies, when I tried a couple of months or so ago. I gather with your connections to the museums and restorer, it should be easy to obtain. Here is a link to the manufacturer's Web-site: https://www.neschen.de/product/filmoplast-r/#pdetails.


I was always fascinated by the way sails hang down limp and in folds, when half set for drying. So different from the belowing sails one usually sees on models. I will try to reproduce such effect in my next project ... one day.

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Hello Eberhardt,

Mr. Schmidt seems to have a great idea for sails during a windless moment. To capture such moments in hanging sails is one of the most difficult things to achieve. I wonder if it works for billowing sails as well. Anyway, I wil reactivate my contacts with my former collegues, hoping they can help me testing this new idea.

Thanks for your reaction and also to all the people who 'liked' my contribution. I suppose we can safely close this thread now.


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Hello Mr. Hoving, Ab,


I am very pleased by the small pleasure yacht you have build the last year.  In one of your earlier post you offered pdf's or dxf files of this yacht.  I am very interested in these 🙂

I will send you a PM for more information.


Best regards,




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It has been a while since we had the short conversation about the material to choose for natural looking sails. I jumped into several experiments after wefalcks suggestion of using paper for sails and I managed to get all the paper I needed. However, I never succeeded in creating the result I was looking for. So I went on searching for the right kind of textile. Thanks to one of my former collegues at the museum I managed to get some stuff called 'voile cotton' that answered my needs.

Since the hull of the man-of-war I referred to earlier in the thread was finished, I decided to try my hand on an experiment with almost windless conditions like on this Van de Velde painting in the Rijksmuseum:


Because I don't want to hurt my back too much I prepare my masts, including blocks, sails and lines on the table.


In this picture sails and blocks are in position, lines still have to be added.


Here the sails are sprayed with starch and dried with a hair-dryer, while modeling them in the shape I want. Purpose is of course to get natural shapes, expressing the weight of the sails together with the little wind that furls them. Hard to explain I'm afraid. All the lines are temporarily belayed at the mast-foot, they will be attached at the right locations later. 


And this is how it will all look after completion. The main mast still has to be done. The shrouds and stays of the foremast can be fixed now, after which braces, bowlines and tacks follow. Sorry for my lousy photography techniques.


By the way, my pleasure vessel experiment, the subject of this (a bit confused) thread, has led to a kit, produced by Kolderstok (http://kolderstok.nl/speel-jaght.html). Kits are not my cup-of-tea, but this one is unusual in the sense that the traditional egg-box system with its terrible straight-planks-method has been replaced by a sort of shell-first technique. Because Rene Hendrickx, my super-Belgian partner-in-crime, created the shapes of all the planking for the boat, the kit is built by using a pdf-mold, used to temporarily support the laser-cut planking. Thus  an empty shell is created after lifting from the mold, which can be finished like a real hull. A new development in kits in my (limited) vision for a very reasonable price. Sorry if I overlooked kits which followed the same method, as I said, kits are not really a point of interest for me. 

Here a page from Kolderstock's three language manual, showing what I mean.


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making te mast outside te ship  is somting i nevver attemt   , but not e bad idee maby fore te next one i give it  e trai.


but my nowlag of rigging is not that grait i alwais have  te lock @ you plan  from the heemskerk wot i use fore rigging

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Limp sails, half-hoisted for drying are so much more difficult to represent, than the dramatic billowing ones, but I think you are getting there ! This begins to look rather convincing.


While pottering along with my current project, I have been looking at various images, including van de Velde paintings and mid-19th century photographs, to get a better feeling for how limp sails drape over stays and the kind of folds and creases they have. My challenge then will be that I am/will be working at 1:160 scale. At any scale the problem is that the materials that are available to us are at least one order of magnitude too thick compared to the prototype and the the stiffness of the fibres does not scale down. This means that the material, whether textile or paper, does not crease and fold as intricatly as it should. Even on those billowing sails one would normally see fine creases raying out from the corners - they are never as taught as the modern plastic yacht sails. This will require almost something like sculpting in 3D, using e.g. tweezer, while the material is drying.


I will also experiment with painting, acrylic washes, as figurine painters use to depict fabrics or indeed any painter, with the difference that the substrate is not flat, but in three dimensions.


@Schmidt has been continuing with his paper experiments and he tries to achieve the transparent effect one observes when viewing a sail against the light. His recent results look quite promising: https://forum.arbeitskreis-historischer-schiffbau.de/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1874&start=75. He also works in 1:160 scale for theses models, btw.

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Have you tried using SilkSpan paper? I've not tried limp sails, but furled ones worked out well, as the material can be re-wetted many times without tearing to be shaped as needed.

Sails 1.jpg

Sails 2.jpg

Sails 4.jpg

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I did try SilkSpan, thank you Druxey. You are absolutely right as for the furled sails, as you clearly prove with your pictures. For hoisted sails I think it gives a too 'boardy' result. It may work for others, but I want a different look. The material I found seems to answer my needs, we will see how it all develops.

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